The son of the artchagar / The son of the brahmin priest (Tamil used by Dalits + English)

In the mud of the rice fields in the middle of the amaranth expanses,
Uncertainty lies in a puddle of sunlight
Akka (big sister), you see the man over there in the field
I will ask him to marry me!

Turmeric water mixed with lime was poured next to the betel
I twirled the copper tray
Around the face of my future mother-in-law
In the hope that she would forget the darkness of the circles under my eyes

Akka (older sister) this man is driving me crazy
I think of him while playing the arabchatti (half-sphere drum of the pariah band)
Event me with a fig branch (used for wedding rites)
May his father the artchagar (Brahmin priest) not cross my path

I will spit in his face, dei! (interjection marking the contempt)
The arbors are decorated with avarai (purple or white perennial plant)
Come my sister, take my hand, it is the festival,
Vishnu is incarnated in this dark body

Kneeling under the banyan tree (characteristic tree of the Indian countryside)
The purplish red flowers of a bauhinie
Have fallen into the lake below
Ayo! (interjection marking the surprise or the pity) my sister!

You see it, he passes near us while smoking the bidi (cigarette)
Teach me what you know about billi (type of black magic)
To make this man’s soul fly to me
He looks at me! Me in my half-sari (girls’ clothing worn over a long skirt)

This man is God’s footprint on earth
And I will ask him to share my life and my death,
Akka (big sister), I do believe I love him,
But already a flock of children surrounds me,

Divali (festival of lights) illuminates the Tamil country
I isolated myself near the jackfruit tree to think of the priest’s son
The Brahmin stared at me and called my father « innada » (term of address of a man of high status towards another of lower status, contemptuous)
Ayo! My tears colored the wind in shades of despair

My heart holds fast, tomorrow we will sing the elala (rice transplanting songs)
Praying to get married in the month of avani (fifth month of the Tamil calendar)
We will pray in the temple shaded by the pagoda fig trees
We will chew hibiscus petals to make our cheeks red

Akka (older sister) believe me, the sky has spoken to me, tomorrow we will taste jilebi (wedding candy)
I will ask the Brahmin’s son to marry me
Kaliyugam (age of world disorder) can bury me under its black waves
My kammal (earrings) reflect the pearl of his eyes

Akka (big sister) tomorrow you will offer me the kodi (wedding sari)
We will draw komal (auspicious design) with rice flour
I will wear the potteu (forehead stitch worn by women)
You will visit me in our village by the sea,

Come my sister, help me! Give me a magudi (snake charmer’s flute)
So that I can put the Brahmin priest’s soul to sleep
Tonight I will ask his son to marry me,
And the moon trembles for me

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